Gun Control & the urgency of "Doing Something"

Discussion in 'What's On Your Mind?' started by KrazyKat, Dec 22, 2012.

  1. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    The cost is not just in death from gun violence. There's also the cost of crime (assault, rape, robbery, home invasion) that are deterred by guns.

    Additionally, you have to look at the deaths you cite and divide them into good deaths and bad death: Criminal killed in the act = good death. The raw statistics neglect that distinction. Killing your attacker also prevents any future crimes that he would have committed.

    Many criminals are rational opportunists who will ply their trade where they are least likely to be harmed in return by their prey. Case in point: foreign tourists and Florida car rentals. Florida had to eliminate special license plates for rental cars because criminals were targeting them, knowing that the occupants were most likely to be from out of state/country and thus not licensed to carry in Florida.

    Columbine and Newtown both show that we are very deficient in the area of mental health care for adolescents. The larger question is how to improve that without having government being too intrusive. As a divorcee of several years without a regular job, Nancy Lanza probably had an individual health plan which provided very limited -- often almost worthless -- mental health care options. And how do you get an individual to cooperate when all he's willing to do is stay home & play video games? There are some very difficult policy issues here for legislators, politicians and health authorities to address.

    Public policy for the last several decades has been not to commit people who are have not been shown to be a danger to themselves or others. There needs to be a middle ground, and there are constitutional obstacles to achieving that middle ground.
    nachtnebel likes this.
  2. KrazyKat

    KrazyKat Original Member

    The correlation between young men acting out with gun violence and fatherless, dysfunctional, love-deprived families, is surely greater than that with gun control legislation. That's why I thought the MacLean's piece was important in the context of rushing to "do something."

    I would disagree, Doober, about continuing to investigate, as I think there are lessons to learn from every failure, even if no one alive is liable. Dismissing this horror as irrational and learning nothing from it does a disservice to those who suffer from it and to all of our understanding of crime. After all, this was not the result of a psychotic episode, but a deliberate plan.

    An unwell but well-off twenty-year old had not spoken to his only sibling or his father in two years, yet lived less than an hour away. His father left when he was eight.

    Guns and undefined mental illness are easy to point to. Mental illness needs attention in the US, not because of this horrible event, but because of lack of health care quality, parity, and access. Access was no issue for this family. I think not just policy but family was the issue.

    The jib-jab about gun control probably diverts attention from problems that could be identified, but which would be much more uncomfortable to discuss.
  3. KrazyKat

    KrazyKat Original Member

    I knew I liked Ron Paul:
    nachtnebel likes this.
  4. Sunny Goth

    Sunny Goth Original Member Coach

    Well... the cynical me would say it's because they want to be able to point to something - like gaming, to be able to say "violent games are bad, ban them and we stop gun violence." They might also be looking to see what kinds of videos he had been watching to be able to say the same things - "violent videos are bad, ban them." Same thing with books or blogs. Essentially the same things we've been talking about -- looking for the simple, superficial answer, rather than looking for the long-term solution.

    The less cynical me would say that looking for patterns isn't all bad, and if done thoughtfully could lead to identifying someone who may have similar tendencies so that we can potentially stop that person before he/she acts. I don't have a lot of faith though.. It always seems like it's a knee-jerk reaction done in a similar manner as how the TSA would do it. And really, all we have to do is look at the police misconduct forum on TUG to see that the police kill a lot of people who don't conform to their notions of 'normal'.
  5. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    One thing to remember (evidence that wasn't around years ago when this first came up) is that the army now uses video games to teach our troops to kill. A much higher percentage of our troops today are active participants in combat as compared with past conflicts when such conditioning wasn't part of the training.

    You don't have to be much of a rocket scientist to ponder the effects of violent video games on teenage social outcasts.
  6. Rugape

    Rugape Original Member

    Gaming could possibly have an impact, but if that is the case, then so do movies, music, books and conversations with that crazy Uncle that was in Vietnam. The onus of insuring that gaming (movies, tv, etc) have a minimal impact on a childs psyche falls directly on the parent(s). I won't bore you with stories about how my parents would have spanked me if I had done anything even remotely like what I see kids do in public on a regular basis, but many children lack basic discipline and direction that is necessary to succeed in the world. I won't delve into the whole spectrum of that argument, but if children learn that they can cry or throw a tantrum and get what they want all the time, it creates an unrealistic expectation of what the world is truly like after childhood. It can also set the child up for a hard fall once they reach the schools and have to deal with other kids that are doing the same thing, but are better at it. I theorize that part of the problem could be the overall differences in how we collectively have been raising kids for the last 20 years or so (not the whole problem, just a part of it).

    Identifying social outcasts that exhibit the telltales of possible violence is something that we as a nation have been terrible about identifying, whether it is the people in our schools not noticing or parents in denial about their own children.
  7. RB

    RB Founding Member

    I'd be interested in knowing if the current crop of shoot 'em up video games has any bearing on how people feel about killing in general. I would like to think that 99.99% know it is just a game but there will be that odd ball that can't separate reality from make believe. I don't think the way games are design to be as realistic as they are helps any. It is sure different than the Pong or later on Space Invaders that my kid grew up with.
  8. Rugape

    Rugape Original Member

    I agree that the games are different than they used to be, they have complex story lines and deal with complex emotional and military issues. In many cases these games are like playing a 5-12 hour movie involving military operations, delving into the personal aspects of their lives, their struggles with moral and operational situations. The new "Walking Dead" game is breaking newer ground by making the focus of the game on the emotional content and making people examine their own choices under the simulated stress of an end of the world scenario. These types of games are not designed for 10 year olds, they are designed for adults, and the rating system identifies that clearly - which brings us full circle to parenting again. If a child is not mature enough for the content of a game (or movie or tv show, etc) then it is the parents duty to intervene or prevent that type of interaction. There are plenty of games out there that are designed specifically for younger age groups, to provide cooperative experiences, physical and mental exercises and even tons of learning games. Games are a far cry from the pong that I played as a kid, they have become more of a social story telling medium, more in line with interactive movies than games. This has been a normal progression as the amount of money and tech available have increased - similar to how movies have become so much more realistic than the ones we grew up on. Some games are specifically designed to increase hand eye coordination and give a more realistic expectation of actual involvement in military styled operations, such as the video system used by the Army - which is actually ok in my book, as you want the people in your military forces to understand that pulling the trigger on a real weapon, is different than pulling the trigger on a controller in a air conditioned room. I still play tons of video games and even write the occasional article for a small game blog, and I have given some serious thought to the issue you raise - whether video games can change the way people feel about killing in general. My conclusion (personal view here only, based simply on my analysis of what I read about on a regular basis) is that it can have an impact, but with proper perspective presented by the parents of children using the games, it would be a negligible impact. We are always going to have one off loonies that desensitize through a combination of avenues, including gaming, that we are not going to be able to catch before they do something. Removing games or guns from the equation will not make that go away, it will simply make the other forces that cause those individuals to snap the next thing we move to remove from our society. To a person, the kids (read 18-about 30 or so) that I have asked about what impact gaming has had on their opinion about killing people has been some derivative of "none". The most common response I have heard was "what the (expletive deleted) are you talking about?". There have been some attempts by media outlets (most notably CNN - ) that target games like Halo 4 (which is a military styled shooter, set in futuristic space surroundings) and "Starcraft" (which is a topdown strategy game that is also set in a futuristic space surrounding). This is sort of like blaming the board game "Risk" or "Axis and Allies" for some world leader that oppresses their people simply because they played them. (step down off soapbox) Sorry for the rant, I am terribly disturbed by the trend of "blame everyone but the person that commits the heinous acts" in this country.
    KrazyKat likes this.
  9. Doober

    Doober Original Member

    Mike and nachtnebel can blather all they want in trying to make statistics say what they believe is true. The fact is that NJ crime rate, all crimes, is below the national average. (Murder has increased recently due to gang violence in Newark and Camden. However, I believe Newark's murder rate has begun to drop.) Alaska, Arizona and Texas are far, far above the national averages in crime, both crimes against property and violent crime. In New York, violent crime is above average, but property crimes are below average.
  10. RB

    RB Founding Member

    I wonder what impact the illegal drug trade and illegal immigrants has on crime rates here in Texas. My guess is that it is substantial.
  11. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    But by your argument you would have us believe that the murder rates in NYC, DC and Chicago (where gun control is even more stringent than NJ) must be even lower .... but they aren't.

    The assault weapon bans are largely a joke -- most would restrict AR-15's while allowing Ruger Mini-14's -- functionally equivalent rifles except that the Mini-14 is a "pretty" gun as opposed to an "ugly" gun. All the last assault weapons "ban" did was to force suppliers to make the guns temporarily "prettier", e.g. they throw the bayonet away before they sell you the semi-auto AK.

    Here in MN the SKS (el-cheapo substitute for a semi-auto AK) was very popular as a poor-man's deer rifle. Yes, people actually do hunt with them!
  12. nachtnebel

    nachtnebel Original Member

    Mike has already pointed out why comparing states to states doesn't work. What if you had a state that always had lower crime rates than another state? You have to look at relative crime rates at much more granular (eg, county by county) area to determine the effects of this law or that law.

    I find it interesting there's this push to disarm the people at precisely the same time drones, even weaponized drones, are being deployed by the tens of thousands in this country, when every communication is being recorded and monitored, when cities are beginning to use and deploy portable tall prison guard towers to watch the people in public squares, when DHS is ordering billions and billions of rounds including hollow point bullets, and when US Army divisions are being trained to handle civilian unrest. Evidently weapons are wonderful for them to have, but not us.

    There is no doubt that the presence of an armed population tempers the kinds of power grabs that the ruling elites can attempt. Unopposed power is absolute power, and power has never been wielded by humans in a wise, just and civil way. Power has always been oppressive because that is man's nature and man cannot be trusted with it, ever. In our country, the founders in the Constitution balanced powers in our federal government, but that balance is now crumbling in favor of the executive, as it always has through man's history. The founders sought to offset even that power by retaining some military power for the states and for the people, as a fail-safe. The Second Amendment has nothing at all to do with hunting or even firearms. It has to do with ARMS. Weapons of war. Being possessed by the people so they can defend themselves from bad things, even their government if need be.

    The "anything for safety" people have yielded up everything for safety at the airport, tacitly allowing sexual groping and real strip searches in addition to visual strip searches in the old scanning machines, hoping to gain safety by it, but all they got was a diminished stature as human beings, and an awful, intolerable increase in power of agents of the state over their bodies, persons, and effects. All this they sacrificed to obtain NO real increase in safety at all.

    If the people allow themselves to be disarmed in the vain hope of safety, the same thing will happen in spades. There will still be gun violence, just as there is in England today which has a total gun ban, the people will have become totally dominated by their government, which will no longer be "theirs".
  13. KrazyKat

    KrazyKat Original Member

    I awoke on Christmas morn to the gift of Roosevelt Elk in my yard. Imagine the skill and bravery of using automatic weapons on these, :td: it doesn't deserve to be called hunting. I wish the elk could return fire. The genepool would be enhanced all the way around.
  14. nachtnebel

    nachtnebel Original Member

    Elk have very few natural predators, virtually none in some parts of the US. In Colorado, this resulted in massive elk herds on the verge of starvation and just about 3 or 4 years ago, IIRC, thousands of them were slated to be shot from helicopters and left on the ground, wasted. This need not be. Hunters can help in this, and do help to manage herd numbers all across the US. The Roosy elks are magnificent, we have those in my home area. Hunters appreciate the majesty of these creatures and the tastiness of their venison also.

    Non hunters have a skewed idea of the "advantages" man has over the game he hunts. Humans are really poor predators, slow, noisy, smelly, easy to spot. The success ratios are very small, about 10% to 20% success in a good year. That's why it's called hunting and not finding. Plus, it's especially not so easy hunting elk. They are savvy and extremely fast, much faster than deer with size to plow through any underbrush they can't jump over. They start running and they are out of sight immediately, and they don't stop for ten or twenty miles. The only way to get one is by being clever lucky and using breezes to your advantage, or catching them careless at a distance. Automatic weapons are illegal for hunting in the states I've hunted, semi auto is allowed with small magazine maximums. Serious hunters tend to use bolt actions, not semi auto because you'll usually just get one shot if you miss semi or bolt. I've never hunted semi auto nor felt they would give me any advantage.
    KrazyKat likes this.
  15. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Mmmmm -- memories of elk dinners! :)

    Are you confusing automatic with semi-automatic?

    The SKS (same 7.62x39 cartridge as the AK) would be very marginal for elk, but there are good quality semi-automatic hunting rifles chambered for cartridges suitable for elk hunting (.270 through 300 Winchester Magnum).

    People tend to throw around the term "automatic" without understanding what it really means. It does not refer to any weapon that a civilian can purchase without a Class III (machine gun) permit from ATF. Civilian "automatics" are really "semi-automatic". Semi-automatics are available for just about any application except the largest rifle cartridges (though there is one for .50 BMG :D if you can afford it and handle it). Semi-autos for hunting are especially useful for handicapped people who would be unable to work the action on a bolt/lever/pump.

    The national match target competition is done with semi-automatic rifles (M1A).
  16. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    The elk that I had to help pack out down the side of a mountain was shot by a hunting companion with a semi-auto .308 Winchester magnum. On another trip he took off the head of a grouse with it. In those days my hunting rifles were 30-06, either my father's Pattern 1917 (also called 1917 Enfield although it wasn't an Enfield at all) or a friend's 03-A3, both WW I surplus.
  17. Frank

    Frank Original Member

    Sarah Brady's definition of an "assault weapon" is any gun the sight of which forces her to change her bloomers.
  18. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    The school where the Democratic elite send their children is well guarded ...

    Breitbart: School Obama's Daughters Attend Has 11 Armed Guards

    Some interesting news has broken in the wake of the latest push for gun control by President Obama and Senate Democrats: Obama sends his kids to a school where armed guards are used as a matter of fact. The school, Sidwell Friends School in Washington, DC, has 11 security officers and is seeking to hire a new police officer as we speak. If you dismiss this by saying, "Of course they have armed guards -- they get Secret Service protection," then you've missed the larger point.

    The larger point is that this is standard operating procedure for the school, period. And this is the reason people like NBC's David Gregory send their kids to Sidwell, they know their kids will be protected from the carnage that befell kids at a school where armed guards weren't used (and weren't even allowed). Shame on President Obama for seeking more gun control and for trying to prevent the parents of other school children from doing what he has clearly done for his own. His children sit under the protection guns afford, while the children of regular Americans are sacrificed.
  19. KrazyKat

    KrazyKat Original Member

    And even psychologists do a terrible job at prediction.

    Wayne Pierre also called for a “an active national database of the mentally ill,” as discussed in the story, Too unbalanced to be armed?
    A national database? What could possibly go wrong?
    Rugape likes this.
  20. RB

    RB Founding Member

    Department of Homeland Security will probably come up with a No Breath List to take care of these people. They can use people like TSA BDO's to identify the future No Breathers.

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